Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: "A Cookie Full Of Arsenic"

Check it out: I just posted one of my classic "Streetwalker" columns on the wonderful Erotic Readers And Writers site.

Here's a tease - for the rest click here

Ever seen Sweet Smell of Success?  If you haven't then you should: because, even though the film was shot in 1957, it rings far too much, and far too loudly, in 2013.

In a nutshell, Sweet Smell of Success (directed by Alexander Mackendrick from a script by the amazing Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman) is about the all-powerful columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) – who can make or break anyone and anything he wants -- and the desperate press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), who loses everything for trying to curry favor with Hunsecker for ... well, that Sweet Smell of Success.

So ... 1957 to 2013.  A lot's changed, that's for sure.  But recently rewatching this, one of my all-time favorite films, gave me a very uncomfortable chill.  But first a bit of history (stop that groaning): you see, J.J. Hunsecker was based – more than thinly – on another all-powerful columnist, the man who once said, about the who he was, and the power he wielded as, " I'm just a son of a bitch."

There was even a word, created by Robert Heinlein of all people, to describe a person like this: winchell – for the man himself -- Walter Winchell.

A book, movie, star, politician – anyone who wanted success would do, and frequently did, anything for both Walter and his fictional doppelganger J.J. Hunsecker.  Their power was absolute ... even a rumor, a fraction of a sentence could mean the difference between headlines and the morgue of a dead career.  As Hunsecker puts it to a poor entertainer who crossed him: "You're dead, son. Get yourself buried."


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